The Living Closet

Emerging artists drag their art from the closet and into the light

º ALIVE AND LOVING IT:
Living Closet is modelled after the Salons of 18th Century Paris.

By BEVERLY LYNCH

        It's time to come out of the closet, break free and let those secret talents loose.  Bring out the songs you wrote, the pictures you painted, the poetry in that bottom desk drawer.  Pull out that creativity and bring it to The Living Closet.

        The Living Closet is a bi-monthly event taking place in Vancouver, featuring talent from all mediums and providing a forum for little-known artists.  The goal of the Living Closet is to facilitate a supportive community where anyone of like mind can explore their creative side in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

        "Look at 20th century art," said Charles Macurdy, a founder of this non-profit organization.  "Where would it have gone if people were painting in isolation?  Artists play off each other and there's a synergy that comes out of it.  In the end the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.  That's what The Living Closet is about."

        The concept started at a small house party three years ago.  This party had a French salon flavour, like the days before, when everyone brought a creative endeavour and shared their work and experience.

        The gathering was so successful that this group decided to give young, developing, little-known artists a venue to gain exposure.

        Rü Lindenberger, administrator of the Closet's web site, www.livingcloset.vancouver.bc.ca, said that what was once a small umbrella group has evolved into a community-wide event while staying true to their roots.

        "We work within the original philosophy with as little overhead as possible."

        Lindenberger also said they have regulations regarding content.

        "We have an unwritten rule that racism, hate literature, homophobia, and such are not included," she said.  "As of yet we have never had a problem."

        The Living Closet is run by volunteers.  A core group of eight artists meet to organize the next event, but there are no dress rehearsals and no one knows what to expect until the night of the performance.

        Lindenberger said that individuals are never featured alone, in either print or advertising, to keep the playing field fresh for all artists.

        Cassandra Chowdhury, who is involved in marketing and promoting this grassroots orgnization, said "we don't promote headliners, but promote the community as a whole.  We value a place of common ground where egos are left at the front door.  Basically we just provide the venue and do a small amount of advertising."

        Events have taken place at many different locations in the past, including Stanley Park and the Church of Pointless Hysteria.  Currently the Living Closet is at the Wise Hall at 1882 Adanac St.

        The next performance, The Night of the Living Closet, has a Halloween theme and will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. with a $5 cover charge.  Following this will be a show in midwinter.  The organizers hope the events will grow and expand into other communities.

        "The Living Closet," as Macurdy said, "has a life of its own."

Artwork by Richard Wlodarczak
LIVING IT UP!: This illustration, by Richard Wlodarczak, was one of the works of art displayed at the last Living Closet event in August.

The Langara Voice, Volume 33, Number 4, October 19, 2000.


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